Paying Homage to the Tidy ‘Home Farm’
I departed from my first-ever trip to a working Clydesdale farm as impressed by the manicured farmstead as the majestic horses. I mutually recognized the breed’s massive size, the individual nutrition plans and the family’s endless commitment to grounds care: neat fence posts trimmed at each base, the landscaped circle drive, park-like grass and the tidy flower beds that awaited summer’s annual flowers.
Agriculture more often today shares its stories about stewardship of the land and animals, but we hear less often about the equivalent desire to keep the “home farm” in shape. Farm families may groom and weed gravel in driveways and barnyards, pressure wash the front porch, and mow ballpark stripes into acres of farmyard grass. The motivated and capable paint fences and barns, remove weeds in the garden, and plant flowers, sometimes with transplanted histories. The aspiration and commitment to heartily tend the property under your care resonates with most farmers across the country. Without doubt, summertime puts that attentive touch and a farm’s personality in its peak season.
I enjoy driving by the nearby farm that maintains a clean line of young shade trees, tidy house and machine shed, and well-managed perennial flower beds, first sown by the family’s late mother. A centennial farm to the east retains orderly outbuildings and a sizable, productive vegetable garden within sight of the highway. A farmer neighbor a mile south successfully incorporates old pig birthing crates into her lovely flower bed designs. And I’ve yet to find neater grassy edges along gravel driveways and landscaping than at the farmstead along the sway in the road.
Our Sunday School director created a perennial bed at the end of her quarter-mile farm driveway to mark the space where an old rural church once stood. Granny paints her garden soils with her signature cannas and bushels of vegetables and fruits, with unwavering attention to weeding detail. Likewise, Gramps tends acres of gravel in the barnyard and driveway with a similar weed-free mantra. He also annually waterproofs the old horse-drawn wagon, a long-time landmark in the front yard.
A passerby may catch families washing farm equipment, cleaning dingy siding on the farmhouse, or painting barns and fences. Near and far from the home place, farmers commit tractor time to mow road ditches along fields, evident on a drive anywhere. On my way to town, I appreciate the series of U.S. flags that fly from roadside fence posts at a local hill-top farm for patriotic holidays. Symbolically, a well-kept farm seems as American as apple pie, preferably homemade from Grandma’s farmyard fruit trees.